Arusha, June 13, 2011 (FH) - A defence witness, Jean Népomuscène Bunani, claimed before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) Monday that Burundian refugees received military training in South Rwanda in April 1994 at a training centre under command of his brother-in-law, Captain Idelphonse Nizeyimana.

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"Nizeyimana was the commander of the training centre. We were with him. He was the one who gave us instructions," he said, adding, "Those Burundian refugees came from Mutara (Eastern Rwanda). It is alleged that some Burundian refugees participated in genocide in 1994.

Bunani, who was testifying for Nizeyimana said that the training centre was set up at Mata in Gikongoro prefecture and soldiers from the Noncommissioned Officers School (ESO) in Butare prefecture, Western Rwanda, participated as instructors. He could not account where those refugees were taken after the training.

Led by Nizeyimana's Lead Counsel John Philpot, the witness alleged that the Burundian refugees were trained on various field, including how to handle weapons and other military techniques. He said they arrived at ESO in the morning of April 26, 1994 in ten buses and transported to Mata, ready for the training the same day.

"Nizeyimana was in charge of coordination of classes. He was the one who advised us when we got problems. At the end of the day we were to report to him," the witness, who was among instructors from ESO, said.

The prosecution claims in the indictment that during the period in which Nizeyimana is reported to be at Mata he was at ESO, as in charge of intelligence and military operations, ordering or instigating soldiers under him to kill Tutsi civilians at various locations in the region. The defence alleged that Nizeyimana was at Mata between April 26 and May 1994

The trial continues Tuesday.  Nizeyimana is charged with genocide, extermination, murder and rape. He was arrested in Uganda on October 5, 2009 and transferred to the UN Detention facility in Arusha, Tanzania the following day.


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